SYRACUSE — At the tender age of 15, Davis goalkeeper Taygan Sill owns a valuable piece of real estate 8 feet high, 24 feet wide and framed by 5-inch white metal pipes on a soccer field.
When Syracuse violated her space with a score just nine minutes into its 6A quarterfinal game against the Darts on Thursday, Sill fought back with a vengeance.
“I just had to move past it. I have to have the mentality ‘don’t get scored on again,’” Sill said. “I have to have trust in my team; they will score if I don’t let another goal in.”
Sill did her part and her team backed up that confidence, tying the game later in the first half and then advancing to the 6A semifinals with a game-winner in the second overtime to nip the Titans 2-1.
Kaylee Felt flicked in the golden goal in the 95th minute for the Darts simply being in the right place at the right time.
“Belle (Mark) took a free kick and it hit off one of their players, right to where I was running and I touched it in,” Felt said. “I wasn’t where I was told to be. I was actually supposed to be a back defender, but I decided to go forward.
“I had a feeling. No one was on the left side and I thought, ‘I’m left-footed, why not go there?’ It was right by the “six” (where the penalty-kick line is), kind of close by the post.”
The winning play was set up by a somewhat controversial penalty call on the Titans that set up Mark’s free kick.
“It sucks about the call. I didn’t think it was a foul,” Syracuse coach Taylor Allen said. “It is what it is. You can’t change the ref’s mind. But all credit to Davis, they put it in.”
Sill blocked a kick from close range near the end of the first half and then turned away five fierce Syracuse shots on goal during a frenzied four-minute span late in the second half of regulation.
“I can’t say enough about her. Hands down, the best keeper in the state,” Davis coach Souli Phongsavath said. “We were behind the eight-ball the whole game. We needed something from our keeper; she handled four or five one-v-ones to keep us in the game.”
The 5-foot 8 sophomore caught a shot in the chest from 2 feet away; made a full-out, two-handed, diving save to her right; deflected a shot off the crossbar and gathered a grounder in front of the net during that sequence.
“I have to be focused the whole time,” Sill said. “I can’t let the crowd or anything distract me ... be there in the moment for each save.”
Freshman Cortney Cobabe scored what turned out to be the only Syracuse goal in the ninth minute, heading in a perfect pass from Sarah Wynn to give the Titans an early 1-0 lead.
Caroline Bitner tied the game for the Darts, netting a shot from close range at the 18-minute mark and all the crazy action that followed finally ended in the second overtime.
“I was playing like crap this game and got my butt chewed out by the coaches at halftime,” Felt said. “I was crying because I played terrible and I decided I was going to go out in the second half and get a goal in.”
Davis next faces No. 1 seed Pleasant Grove at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Juan Diego High School.